Monday, November 17, 2014

The Cruise!

It's hard to even know where to start to tell you about the cruise.  It was incredible!  Way better than I had imagined it would be.  This was my third cruise, but first to the Caribbean...and I'm hooked!

I think you know it was a "quilting cruise," with the tour company Sew Many Places.  While we were "at sea," we had classes with various instructors or even free sew time.  There were four conference rooms set up and there was a Janome representative there with 75 machines ready for our use.  The "Bobbin Boys" were there to assist with any machine issues, even if we needed a new bobbin!

I traveled with my good friend, Irene.  This was taken on the Promenade just after we boarded.  We look excited, don't we??

Leaving Galveston...this is going to be good!

Our first cocktail on deck as we departed!


The sunsets and sunrises were gorgeous...this was actually an incredible "moonrise."


We were on Royal Caribbean's "Navigator of the Seas," and they have an ice skating rink!  The ice dancing show was awesome.  We did see a few of the other shows, but no pics...  :)


Click for a larger view...trying to save from loading a gazillion pics!)
We also had three ports of call...the first was Roatan, Honduras.  We took an excursion to an animal preserve that was really fun.  The first thing I noticed...humidity!!  LOL  It wasn't unbearable though and I survived.  :)  I loved the spider monkies...it took about 15 selfies to get that one good one!  LOL  The iguanas there are like squirrels are to us...they are everywhere!  And they can be huge!!




The next stop was Belize City, Belize.  We had a two hour tour of the Wallace River where we saw manatee, dolphins, crocodiles, all kinds of birds, wild monkeys, and teeny tiny bats.  After the river tour, we traveled by bus to the Altun Ha Mayan ruins.  Our tour guides were very knowledgeable and we had the opportunity to climb to the top of this large ruin.  Very "interesting" culture, to say the least, but an incredible opportunity to see the history that took place there.


The last port of call was Cozumel, Mexico.  We took at awesome "jungle buggy" tour through mud and jungle trails.  Afterwards we snorkeled in the ocean...no pictures of that as I had to store away my phone.  But that was a new adventure for me as I've never felt I'm a big fan of the ocean and not knowing what might be swimming underneath me.  :)  It was incredible though and I'm so glad I did it!  The water was sooo warm!



Okay...so now some of the -really- fun stuff.  LOL  There were six quilt instructors on the tour and we had a class with each one...each sharing a different fabric related project.  Some were finished on board...but yes, I came home with UFO's to add to my list.  But it was oh so worth it!!
Of course, the reason I -had- to go on this cruise....Bonnie Hunter!!  Top right pic...Kim Diehl.  She is awesome!!  So friendly and I love her projects combining patchwork and wool.  Middle right is Catherine Redford....her project was hand embroidery.  Bottom right is Dana Lynch...she is amazing longarm quilter and she taught us machine quilting on a domestic machine.  Middle bottom is Carol Moellers...she taught a fusible applique project.  Not pictured is Pam Holland...she taught a machine applique class.


There were 96 quilters, and we were divided in to four groups...so our class size was less than 25.  This was during one of the open sew sessions when they opened the walls between the two conference rooms and probably 50 or so quilters were busy sewing, sewing, sewing!


One of the days at sea was pretty rough and let me tell you...it's an unusual feeling to be swaying side to side when you're sewing.  LOL  The machines were great and quite a few of the girls brought one home at a sweet price as a souvenir! 


This was Catherine's embroidery project...I'll show mine when it's finished.  :)  It's a fun memento of our trip!

This is Kim's wool applique project....


I finished the embroidery part.... :)


And the blocks I finished for my Texas Tumbleweed quilt by Bonnie.  Love!! 

Jim West and the Sew Many Places tour company were great!  We got a few little goodies from Aurifil and fabric from one of the batik fabric companies...(yikes...don't remember!).  We also got to play quilt bingo...there were a few awesome prizes and the grand prize was another cruise!  Alas...I didn't win.  :(

Here we are in Cozumel, next to the Allure of the Seas which DWARFED our Navigator...(I got pretty good at taking selfies!)


And sadly...our last cocktail at the goodbye social.  It was sooo fun.  I met some incredible ladies that I can now share quilty stuff through Instagram and Facebook.  I really enjoyed spending the time with Irene.  She is a military friend from a previous assignment.  We are very similar in our quilting obsession hobbies.  We are longing for the day when we live closer to each other and can quilt together more often!  

Honestly, I don't think we had as much time as usual on a normal cruise to explore the ship and take advantage of the activities on board, as the "at sea" times were spent taking classes.  But that's okay...we did have a few hours here and there lounging on deck with our embroidery and saw a few of the nightime shows.  I'll tell you one thing for sure...this was not a sleeping cruise!  LOL  Late-ish nights and up and at 'em early for class or excursions!  Oh and the food....if you've ever been on a cruise...you know what I'm talking about.  LOL

Part of the charm was spending "casual" time with these quilting rockstars (at least they are to me!) and getting a chance to talk to them.  Most of them would attend the open sew sessions, just to be there to chat.  With each and every one of them, it felt like I was talking to a neighbor...everyone was so friendly and we all shared a common bond...fabric, thread, quilting, etc.  That's what it was all about!

Check out Bonnie and Catherine's blogs for more awesome pics.

If you ever have a chance to take a quilt cruise...you must do it!

Happy Quilting and stay tuned for my finished cruise projects!!
~Michelle

7 comments:

  1. That was SUCH fun to read about! I've never taken a cruise (because, no matter what my husband says, I don't think time on a Navy tender counts, thank you very much!!) and the quilting cruises have always appealed to me!! :)

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  2. Looks like you had lots of fun!!!
    Kristie

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  3. I'll probably never take a cruise, so it is fun to live it vicariously. Thanks for the pics of all the fun. Looks like a wonderful time, and how nice that you got to go with a good friend!
    I saw Kim's little project in my class from her last month. Very cute! Love that Bonnie quilt you started. : )

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  4. I took a quilt cruise a few years ago with Stitchin' Heaven on the Oasis (sister to the Allure). We had Edyta Sitar, Sandy Klop and Lynne Hagmeier (Kansas Troubles) as our teachers and Lissa Alexander from Moda as our 'demo gal'. It was a fantastic cruise, a beautiful ship, fabulous teachers and gorgeous projects. However, I doubt I'll ever do another quilting cruise as I felt I missed out on a lot of the 'cruising experience' (even though I'd been on several prior and since). I wanted to be poolside and doing more things out and about especially since that was the largest ship I'd EVER been on!! So cool!

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  5. Now you're like a quilting rock star to me...I about flipped when I saw you on Bonnie's blog and I was all like, " whoa, I know somebody who knows Bonnie!" Ack and it's not even that big of a deal but really it is because quilting is just the best obsession to have and we all share it and I'm just so excited for you! How fun to be with quilty friends...maybe we can try to have a Backporch Friends reunion on the next cruise Bonnie does next Fall!

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  6. Michelle -- what a wonderful trip you and Irene took! I enjoyed seeing your pictures and hearing about your adventures/classes. Thank you for sharing them. :o)

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  7. Sounds like a marvelous time! Thanks for sharing. You had some of the best quilters to teach!

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